Faculty of BiosciencesBiochemistry
Biochemistry investigates and describes the molecular structures and chemical processes occurring in living organisms at all levels of organisation. This endeavour is predicated on the perspectives, insights and methods of organic, inorganic and physical chemistry and of molecular biology. Biochemistry therefore has a critical impact on the foundational research conducted in many areas of bioscience (including applied disciplines) and plays an increasingly decisive role in initiating basic research projects in the field of chemistry.
Among the central concerns of biochemistry are the structure, biosynthesis and function of proteins and nucleic acids; the metabolism and its regulation; the mechanisms of enzymatic catalysis; the structure and functioning of molecular machines for cell transport and motion; the structure, features and function of membranes; and the mechanisms involved in cellular energy conversion and biological signalling processes.
Special Features and Characteristics
The course aims to familiarise students with the practical aspects of biochemical laboratory work early on in the course, and to develop the knowledge and skills they require to contribute to the activities of a research team. Practical elements of the course include a research placement in the field of biochemistry, which students may choose to complete in one of the Institute’s laboratories or one of the University’s research centres, in an independent organisation working in relevant fields of research, or in industry. The research placement may be completed in Germany or abroad. Great emphasis is placed on the provision of individual supervision and collaborative planning of external research placements to prevent students losing time, or prolonging their period of study.
Biochemistry has a critical impact on the foundational research conducted in many areas of bioscience, including applied disciplines, and plays an increasingly decisive role in initiating basic research projects in the field of chemistry.
Biochemists may pursue a career in any of the following:
- research institutions, in fields including Medicine, Earth Sciences, Environmental or Food Studies
- university clinics and medical laboratories
- businesses in the chemical, pharmaceutical and biotechnical industries-environmental agencies, food agencies or laboratories specialising in food hygiene
I study biochemistry because I want to understand the physiological and pathological processes which take place in cells. The relatively small course size at Heidelberg University means that we receive an ideal level of supervision, and come into contact with researchers and cutting-edge areas of research early on in the degree programme.
Lea Kubitz, 21, Biochemistry, 6th Semester Bachelor